Night Gallery is pleased to present an online viewing room of work by Marcel Alcalá and Kottie Paloma for Art Brussels Online 2021. For these two painters, the cityscape becomes a space of psychic excavation, subverting and reimagining archetypes of the unconscious. Alcalá’s work depicts scenes from a bizarro universe parallel to Los Angeles, creating tableaux of cultural intersection and political struggle which reflect the artist’s personal history. In Paloma’s paintings, the suggestion of the urban skyline creates the formal logic for energetic yet tightly constructed compositions punctuated with recognizable forms like animals, symbols, and body parts, here pushed beyond meaning into pure expression. Side by side, these discrete presentations reflect the city as a site of synchronous conflict and wonder.
In Marcel Alcalá’s paintings, whimsically surreal vignettes of city life create parables of personal and cultural reconciliation. Adopting a tone of mischievous satire, the artist contemplates contradictions of their Mexican-American heritage, conjuring a landscape in which markers of commerce and gentrification encroach upon a fantastical natural world. Drawing from references that collapse art history with contemporary visual culture, Alcalá’s work makes allusions to Huichol arts, Toulouse-Lautrec, and the Surrealists, among others. Within these exuberant compositions is a seething indictment of colonization and an earnest celebration of cultural endurance and reinvention.
Marcel Alcalá (b. 1990 in Santa Ana, CA) presented their solo exhibition Solita at Night Gallery in December 2020. They have been included in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; MCA Chicago, IL; Swiss Institute, New York, NY; Ekebergparken, Oslo, Norway; Rogoland Kunstsenter, Stavanger, Norway; Blum and Poe, Los Angeles, CA; Queer Biennial at Tom of Finland Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; Consulate General of Mexico; Los Angeles LGBTQ Center, CA; and Ballroom Marfa, TX, among others. In 2020, they were an artist-in-residence at the Tom of Finland Foundation. They live and work in Los Angeles.
Kottie Paloma’s paintings work within the confines of a single color to create compositions that move in and out of representation, alternating between suggestions of space, objects, symbols, and pure abstraction. These disparate elements come together in tight, puzzle-like constructions that offer multiple entry points for the viewer, finding coherence out of an assemblage of contradictory parts. The artist builds these works up from abstract experiments, finding legible forms through a process of drawing and scraping away, maintaining the looseness of his hand. The works straddle the line between graphic and expressionistic, employing sparing methods to create vividly psychological compositions that suggest landscapes of the unconscious.
Kottie Paloma (b. 1974) presented his solo exhibition Dante at Night Gallery in October 2020. He has presented solo exhibitions at Ober Gallery, Kent, CT; Das Gift, Berlin, Germany; Ada Gallery, Richmond, Virginia; and MOHS Exhibit, Copenhagen, Denmark, among others, and is preparing a forthcoming solo exhibition at Saatchi Yates Gallery. Group exhibitions include 2019’s Terrain Biennial presented by OTT-HOPPS, Pasadena, CA; the Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA; Bavarian State Library, Munich, Germany; No Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Alma Gallery, Riga, Latvia; and the Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin, Germany, among others. His publications are included in the collections of Tate Modern Library, London, England; MOMA NY, U.S.A.; U.C. Berkeley Bancroft Library; Stanford University; Bavarian State Library, Germany; United States Library of Congress Special Collections; Yale University, U.S.A.; and Harvard University, U.S.A. He lives and works in Germany.